My thoughts this morning lead to me question, am I actually a control freak? Much to my surprise, I discovered I am not. I don’t have a strong need to be in control all the time and I actually feel more comfortable and more like myself when I am not trying to be in control all the time. However, I’ve convinced myself in order for people to trust me, I need to appear as a control freak. I’ve forced myself into the box of “I need control” because I felt like that was expected of me. That is what makes me look like I know what I am doing and that I am worth trusting and paying attention to. Who pays attention to someone who seems out of control? But control is just an illusion right? When do we ever truly have it? So by forcing myself to appear in control I am also setting the expectation that others should do the same. That control is the key to a healthy body.
My very next thought was how I actually treat my body as though I hate it. How if I am being real it feels as though I am constantly at war against it. Always trying to beat it into submission, control, criticize, and manipulate it. Every decision I make about it is one made out of fear that if I choose wrong I might lose the battle against it. I workout and choose specific foods out of fear. Fear of what will happen if I don’t. Fear of how I will feel or look. Fear that if I do something different I’ll appear out of control. Fear that I'll lose my "control freak" status.
What would it look like instead to treat it out of love. To recognize my body as a masterpiece. Unique and given to me to fully experience this incredible life. It is a gift and if I simply love it and appreciate its complexity I can be set free from my fear and my daily war against myself. Loving my body means caring for it and making the best choices for it in order to help it thrive. It means allowing my body to be what it is and loving it every step of the way. It’s appreciating all the experiences it gives me and all it allows me to do. And having grace when I feel as though it is lacking. It is allowing it to hurt and knowing that is not always a bad thing. It is allowing it to feel amazing and enjoying those moments fully with out fear of how short lived that feeling might be. When it feels off, instead of judging it, what if I investigate what is wrong? Love it enough to not get mad about it not feeling good. Then sort out why it feels bad. Not burying the bad feeling in things that feel good for a second, like junk food, that will actually tear it down further. What if I don’t strive to control my body but instead embrace a loving relationship with it like any other healthy relationship.
I recognized a long time ago that I don’t actually love my body enough to make the best choices for it. So in order to convince myself to make better choices, specifically to eat better and sleep more, I had to recognize the effects of my bad choices on other people. I couldn’t make it about me because I just didn’t love myself enough to care for myself. I have recognized this in many other people and have encouraged them to also think of others more than themselves. I have actually said to people, “most of us don’t love ourselves enough to make better choices, so focus on the ones you do and how your choices effect them.” OMG! I told them it was OKAY to not love themselves. I told them to not worry about the fact that they didn’t love themselves just focus on something else. Ignore the core problem here and find a way to function and avoid it. By only seeing my body as an enemy to control and manipulate I have also taught others to do the same.
Crushing myself does not prove grit. Working until complete exhaustion doesn’t prove dedication. Always saying yes doesn’t show people how to love. Fighting my body and trying to force it to be something specific isn’t health or discipline. Ignoring myself in attempt to help others only leads to resentment and broken relationships.
What changes when I see my physical body as something worthy of love. What changes when I not only see it as worthy of love, but I treat it with the love it deserves? Everything. I experience a freedom I wasn't aware existed before. I experience the beauty of this world on a much deeper level. I experience relationships more authentically. I experience the me I was put here to be.